Medi-Cal

New DHCS Guidance Covers Emergency COVID-19 Treatment For All Medi-Cal Enrollees

The California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) issued new guidance on the coverage of emergency COVID-19 inpatient or outpatient services in Medi-Cal. The new directive states that for all Medi-Cal beneficiaries, including those in restricted scope Medi-Cal, all testing and treatment of COVID-19 related emergencies will be covered by Medi-Cal, whether that treatment occurs in a hospital or a community clinic. Previously, DHCS had announced that all screening and testing of COVID-19 would be covered for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but the new guidance expands this to cover all treatment related to a COVID-19 emergency, including if that testing or treatment is in an outpatient setting like a community clinic. This will benefit not just the 13 million Californians currently enrolled in Medi-Cal, but also the one million undocumented Californians in “restricted-scope” […] Read More

Initial Estimates Find Hundreds of Thousands of Californians Have Already Lost On-The-Job Coverage—with Projections into the Millions

Estimates released over the last week paint a dire picture of the health insurance benefits that have been lost as people lose their jobs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates by the Economic Policy Institute suggests 3.5 million Americans—including 420,000 Californians—have lost their employment and their employer-based coverage in the two weeks after March 12th. With the number of Unemployment Insurance claims in California doubling since then, the number may have risen to over 800,000 already, if not more. Projections by Health Management Associates suggest the number might reach into the millions as the pandemic continues. If the unemployment rate continues to rise, projections estimate a huge increase in the number of Californians that will end up relying on coverage programs […] Read More

How the Federal CARES Act May Affect Your Health Coverage

Congress passed and the President signed a $2 trillion federal relief package that will provide some immediate help to many Americans facing health and economic shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “CARES Act”, as it’s called, included Recovery Rebates for Individuals (cash payments) as well as extended and enhanced federal Unemployment Insurance. While many Californians will receive this needed assistance, much more help will be needed to get us through this public health crisis. We will be need your help to advocate for that assistance as it develops. If you have been or become uninsured during this crisis, including if you lost employer-based coverage, Medi-Cal and Covered California are important options to provide you with peace of mind, more economic […] Read More

COVID-19 and the ACA’s 10th Anniversary

On March 23, 2020, we mark the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Especially at this moment, we are grateful for the improvements in our health system that were sorely needed and now help at at time like this. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, California’s health system would be much less equipped to deal with the pandemic if the ACA had not been put in place. Prior to the implementation of the ACA: we had four million more uninsured Californians, and a uninsured rate of nearly 20%; we had more financially struggling hospitals and health providers, and we didn’t have the resulting surge in our health system capacity throughout the state; we had those who are […] Read More

More Californians To Stay Covered Under New Bill Introduced Today by Senator Hurtado

Yesterday, State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D – Fresno) made health care coverage for Californians one of her top priorities by introducing SB 260. The new bill ensures more people can stay covered when their life circumstances change. When Californians undergo changes in their lives – like a marriage or divorce, moving to a new home in a new area, losing a job, or aging out of their parents’ insurance coverage, they may also face gaps in health care coverage. Currently, these Californians are notified of their options to enroll in Covered California or Medi-Cal. SB 260 improves this notice by allowing Covered California to reach out directly to these consumers and inform them of their coverage options in order to […] Read More

Senate and Assembly Budget Committees Look for Investments in Healthcare and Social Services, Among Other Priorities

The Senate and Assembly Committees on Budget and Fiscal Review each held informational hearings on the Governor’s 2018-2019 Proposed Budget, providing a general overview for the public. These hearings kick off the 2018 budget committee process in the Legislature. The proposed state budget includes $131.7 billion in general fund spending compared to last year’s budget of about $125 billion. Both Amy Costa, the Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Mac Taylor, the Legislative Analyst, acknowledged this number is due to higher revenues. The Legislative Analyst also said legislators have important decisions to make to ensure that the significantly higher discretionary funding reflects the Legislature’s priorities. In her opening remarks, Senator Holly J. Mitchell, Chair of the […] Read More

Nomination of Tom Price as HHS Secretary Signals Threat to Medicare, Not Just Obamacare

On Tuesday, Health Access California reacted to President-elect Trump’s nomination of Representative Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright made this statement following the announcement: “This nomination signals the new President-elect’s plans to undo the guarantees of not just Obamacare, but Medicare and Medicaid as well. Despite President-elect Trump’s promises to protect Medicare, his choice for HHS Secretary would end traditional Medicare, privatizing it into a voucher program that will cover some, but not all, of the cost of coverage.” “In the primary campaign, the President-elect made a point of breaking with other Republican candidates in talking about universal health care and protecting Medicare; now, this pick suggest he will go along […] Read More